BA in Youth Work (Honours)

The Open University

Program Description

BA in Youth Work (Honours)

The Open University

BA in Youth Work (Honours)

There are few things more important or rewarding than making a positive difference to the lives of young people. This degree will help you develop the knowledge and skills needed for a dynamic career in youth work, and with the fast pace of change in the sector, it’s an exciting time to get involved – whether you plan to work in statutory or voluntary settings.

Key features of the course

  • A professional qualification recognised across the UK and the Republic of Ireland
  • Designed to support young people’s personal and social development
  • Ideal if you work with young people in informal settings, or if you have an informal educational role in a formal environment
  • Excellent preparation for further research, study and enquiry

Educational aims

This degree is suitable for experienced practitioners working directly with young people (aged 13–19 years) in informal settings or with informal educational roles in a formal environment. It will provide knowledge and skills required for working with young people, give professionally recognised status (subject to validation) and will also prepare you to engage with further research, study, enquiry and practice where knowledge of working with young people is required.

Through your study you will:

  • develop a systematic and critical understanding of the application of theoretical, practice and research knowledge and skills in relation to working with young people in diverse and multi-agency settings
  • develop as a reflective practitioner who is able to develop, interrogate and evaluate ethical practice within the framework of professional principles, purposes and values that applies to professional practice with young people.

Teaching, learning and assessment methods

The teaching material is offered through supported open learning modules and includes module texts, audiovisual material and directed reading. Knowledge and understanding are principally developed through these teaching materials and in-text questions, tasks and activities. Summative assessment is by written tutor-marked assignments and by end-of-module assessments. Tutors support development through online and telephone support, letters, tutorials and written feedback on assignments.

On the work-based learning modules you will attend day schools, and also have professional supervision sessions that contribute to the development of knowledge and understanding.

Cognitive skills are assessed by module assignments. These will allow you to demonstrate your ability to structure a clear and reasoned argument and to critically analyse module issues. The Personal Development Plan and Work-Based Learning Projects in the work-based modules will allow you to demonstrate independent thinking skills and your understanding of theoretical concepts and the underpinning principles for practice as they apply to young people in a work-based context. They will also give an opportunity to show evidence of reflective practice and use appropriate methods of enquiry.

Key skills are promoted within learning materials and as part of continuous assessment. Assessment criteria of assignments require you to demonstrate your ability to communicate effectively and appropriately in a variety of formats. Learning skills focusing on information literacy, setting priorities and targets, and self-assessment are a feature of the Personal Development Plan, the general approach to key skills and of the work-based learning components.

You are encouraged to use online forums to communicate with tutors and other students throughout the degree and use of ICT will be a requirement of the delivery and support process for the work-based learning modules. Opportunities to develop personal ICT skills are a component of the work-based learning modules.

Professional skills are developed as part of an increased awareness and understanding of good practice and through understanding and undertaking a reflective practice approach. The assessment of practice skills is via module work, participation in Day Schools (or equivalent) and assessed observed practice. This includes developing an appropriate approach to recording development in relation to work-based practice. Students also develop a Personal Development Plan throughout the degree.


We believe cost shouldn’t be a barrier to achieving your potential. That’s why we work hard to keep the cost of study as low as possible and have a wide range of flexible ways to pay to help spread, or even reduce, the cost. Fees for study commencing in academic year 2014/2015 are:

  • Fees are paid on a module-by-module basis – you won't have to pay for the whole of your qualification upfront.
  • If like most OU students studying part time, you study an average of 60 credits a year – you’ll study for six years to complete a degree. Our typical fee for 60 credits is £2,632.
  • Our current fee is £5,264 – based on 120 credits of study – which is equivalent to a year's full-time study.
  • The total cost of your chosen qualification currently starts from £15,792 based on our current fees.

NB: Prices are subject to change.

How long does it take?

  • Part time – 6 years
  • Full time – 3 years
  • Time limit – 10 years

Career relevance

Youth workers engage with young people in a wide range of roles and settings, including in youth services, in voluntary and community organisations, in schools and colleges, and in youth participation projects.

This degree course can provide an effective foundation for a range of careers including:

  • teaching
  • counselling
  • voluntary sector work
  • youth work
  • education support and welfare
  • social work
  • probation work
  • personal and careers guidance
  • sport and fitness

Entry requirements

To study this qualification you will need to be working with young people by the time you begin studying the second module in Stage 1, as it involves work-based learning.

The work-based learning continues in Stages 2 and 3. To study these modules you will need to:

  • be working with young people, aged 13 to 19, in an informal education setting such as a youth club, scout group, or voluntary organisation, or working in a school or college in an informal education role. For Stages 1 and 2, you need to be working for a minimum of five hours a week (135 practice hours in total). For the Stage 3 work-based learning module, you need to be working six hours a week (174 practice hours in total).You may be in paid employment or working as a volunteer
  • have the permission of your employer to study, and identify work-based learning support from appropriately qualified individuals in your organisation
  • obtain the necessary clearance from the Disclosure and Barring Service (England and Wales), or have passed a Disclosure Scotland, Access NI or Garda (ROI) check.

It is your responsibility, and that of your employer, to ensure you meet these requirements. It’s also very important that you feel confident you meet the specific module requirements at the point of entry to the qualification. You and your employer will be asked to confirm these requirements when you register for the work-based learning modules. If your circumstances change at any point during study of this qualification, you will need to keep us updated.

When you register for the Stage 1 work-based learning module you will also be asked to confirm that you have recent experience of working in an informal education setting or role. A suitable level of prior experience might be six months of one session (two/three hours) per week during the last three years.

As you progress to the Stage 2 work-based learning module you will need to work in a different setting from that in Stage 1 for at least 111 out of the total 135 practice hours.

Note: if you are studying in Northern Ireland or in the Republic of Ireland, your practice hours on the Stage 3 work-based module will need to include a minimum of seven weeks of block placement (30 hours a week).

To study this qualification you must also be living in the UK, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, the Republic of Ireland or have a British Forces Post Office (BFPO) address outside the UK.

Read more about this programme on the Open University website here

This school offers programs in:
  • English
The Open University

Last updated October 23, 2017
Duration & Price
This course is Online
Start Date
Start date
Aug. 2018
3 - 10 years
Part time
Full time
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United Kingdom - Milton Keynes, England
Start date: Aug. 2018
Application deadline Contact school
End date Contact school
Aug. 2018
United Kingdom - Milton Keynes, England
Application deadline Contact school
End date Contact school